September 23, 2015

Carol Dweck reflects on the growth mindset in eduction

A new article has been published in Education week by Carol Dweck called Carol Dweck Revisits the 'Growth Mindset'. The topic is, of course, the growth mindset. But this is not your typical article explaining the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. This article has some interesting reflections by Dweck on her work and its practical application.

First, she mentions that a growth mindset is sometimes viewed as only being about effort which is a misunderstanding. Effort is important but so are asking for input and help and trying several learning strategies. Also, effort is not the goal, just a means to the goal of learning.

Second, she shares her worry that the self-esteem approach (which the growth mindset approach was supposed to counter) may sneak its way back into the growth mindset approach. This might happen when teachers and parents avoid mentioning achievement gaps or problems and just praise kids for putting in effort regardless of whether there is any learning going on.

Third, she mentions a worry that the growth mindset becomes just socially desirable label, something which people just proclaim to have while not actually behaving in ways which fit with a growth mindset.

Dweck argues that we should not ban or deny the fixed mindset arguing that at best we can be on a journey to a growth mindset. When we recognize elements of fixed mindsets in ourselves, and she thinks they will always to some extent be there, we can acknowledge them and do something with them and about them.

I recommend you read the full article here.

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